Meghan Kelley and Daniel Quiceno defeated Nolan Paige and Ashley Noyes to win the New England mixed doubles title.
© USTA New England
Young players excelled at the US Open National Playoffs New England Sectional Qualifying Tournament in New Haven, Conn.., with a pair of teenagers—18-year-old Nolan Paige and 17-year-old Jan Abaza—winning the singles titles, and 14-year-old Meghan Kelley teaming with her coach, Daniel Quiceno, to take the mixed doubles crown. Kelley is the youngest player so far this year to win a sectional qualifier title, while 32-year-old Quiceno was the outlier of the group.
With the victories, all four players earn a return trip to New Haven, which will be the site of the 2012 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships. The championships will be held in August in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event. The winners of the men’s singles championship and the women’s singles championship—which feature the winners or top available finishers from the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments being held throughout the country—advance to the US Open Qualifying Tournament, while the winners of the mixed doubles championship earn a main draw wild card into the 2012 US Open mixed doubles event.
Paige claimed the New England sectional qualifier title for the second time in three years, defeating Fordham University sophomore Srikar Alla, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, in the final. This, however, would mark Paige’s first appearance in the championship round; in 2010, he pulled out when the Men’s Championship conflicted with a junior event. Paige, who has committed to play at Stanford in the fall, is one of New England’s top juniors, having ascended to No. 5 in the USTA national junior rankings in 2010. His father is the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Fairfield University.
Abaza also claimed a sectional qualifying tournament title in 2010, winning in Florida. She was unable to play in the Florida sectional qualifier this year, however, necessitating the trip up north. It proved worth the travel, as the Boca Raton native upset No. 1 seed and 2011 USTA New England sectional qualifier champion Lena Litvak in the semifinals and defeated No. 2 seed and University of Pennsylvania standout Chieh Yu Hsu, 20, of Philadelphia, 7-5, 6-2, in the final. Abaza has trained in Boca Raton for 10 years and is currently ranked No. 701 in the world. She won the doubles title at the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Sumter, S.C., earlier this year and has been a standout junior, reaching the girls’ 14s quarterfinals at the 2008 Junior Orange Bowl.
Paige had a chance to add a second title in New Haven, in mixed doubles, but he and partner Ashley Noyes, 18, fell to Kelley, of Falmouth, Maine, and Quiceno, of Beverly, Mass., 6-3, 6-4, in the final. Quiceno is a teaching pro at Manchester Athletic Club in Massachusetts, where Kelley trains. He was the No. 1-ranked player in his native Colombia as a junior and played collegiately at Troy University. He previously worked at the Bollettieri Academy and has been a hitting partner for Tommy Haas, Maria Sharapova and Xavier Malisse, among others. Kelley has won a number of national junior tournaments, and she finished No. 15 in the national Girls’ 14s rankings in 2011.